The Best Creative Writing Courses

Inspired by my decision to continue studying creative writing, here is my list of the best writing course which can be studied from home. Ranging from introductory courses to post-graduate level, there should be something here for everyone.

Writers’ News Home Study
Brought to you by the team behind Writing Magazine, these popular home study modules are reasonably priced and a good entry-level option. The Fiction Writing module is £180 and focuses on the novel, while other modules include Short Stories and Writing for Children.

The Writers’ Workshop
Offering a comprehensive range of courses, The Writers’ Workshop looks like a good option for those with a bit more money to spend and time to invest. With modules starting at £165 for the total beginner, the courses run for a number of weeks and are taught by many bestselling authors and prizewinning writers.

Creative Writing at the Open University
At undergraduate level, the OU offers level 2 & 3 courses in creative writing. Sadly their level 1 course is no longer available, but having studied with the OU I can vouch for the quality of the teaching and materials. These courses require a bit more committment, and have deadlines for assignments, but the credits count towards your degree.

MA in Creative Writing
For those interest in studying at post-graduate level, this is the course I’m currently taking, and can be studied part-time. The online route makes it ideal for any writer, wherever they live.

Other options:

  • Look around for a writing group near you. Many are run informally by qualified tutors, and will often set homework and exercises for members to try each month. This is a good way of learning about giving and receiving criticism.
  • Try your local college. Although not strictly home study, most creative writing courses have evening classes to fit around existing commitments.

Any other good ideas or courses you could recommend? Have I inspired anyone to further study? :)


Filed under Writing

21 responses to “The Best Creative Writing Courses

  1. This is a great list Jo, thanks for sharing it.
    In 2005 I started the comprehensive writing course from the Writers Bureau. I specifically studied the first Modules (about writing in general) and the one concerned with Novel writing. I never completed the course because it also dealt with writing for newspapers, magazines, TV and radio, poetry, etc and these didn’t interest me at the time.

    The course could be done from home and you had the support of lecturers who would check your work and give you feedback.

    I found it really helpful, practical, and I learnt a lot from this course,

    • Hi Martina,
      I did consider adding the Writers Bureau course to the list, but decided against it in the end. It is a good course, but I studied it way back in the 1990s, and I know someone else who’s doing it now, and the course doesn’t seem to have changed at all. I think they need to update it at bit – but it’s great to have your recommendation for it. Thanks for that xxx

      • Hi Martina and Joanne…
        I have read your post, Joanne, about creative writing courses and then after noting Martina had studied at the Writers Bureau and you yourself had considered it and know someone who is currently a student, I felt I had to add my own comments.

        I too am a student there, I actually have been for a very long time….but I do agree with your thoughts on things not changing much…..I am about to update my course materials to suit current standards and so I can achieve the best results I can, but I have to say, yes, alot does need to be updated and changed.

        I am staying with it, so I can say I have done so…and get as much as I can out of the course but I do feel what I have learnt so far up to date has been through my own hard work and not through them…..

        After I have finished the course….I am hoping to look for another one, perhaps OU and compare the differences…and hopefully gain a lot more experience etc from another course.

  2. Hi,
    Great post. I’ve done lots of short courses in London over the years, many of which were good. I decided recently to start a MA Creative Writing – like you – as I wanted something more comprehensive and intensive. From what I can see so far, I think that it will be really useful. I wanted to do an in-person one (rather than online) as I think the writing workshop modules work better that way. Good luck with yours! We’ll have to swap notes! Vicky

    • Hi Vicky,
      I’d prefer an in person one too, to be honest, but living in the middle of nowhere – and having a young daughter to look after – make the online course the best option for me. Looking forward to comparing notes – have you started this year? Jo x

      • Yep, just started. Plumped for the writers’ workshop as my first module, so straight into submitting work for feedback from peers and our tutor. Am really looking forward to this bit and it’s good practice for submitting to agents / publishers / editors. What are you doing first?

  3. Thanks for the links Jo :)

    I start the Faber course in a couple of weeks, so I’ll let you know what it’s like :)


  4. Penelope

    I’ve studied with Writers’ News Home Study several times. Writing Short Story with Sue Johnson was the most successful, with extensions to the course I was able to complete The Haphazard Gardener. I am now working my way through The Children’s Writing. I began with the OCA – Starting to Write. I was disappointed with the feedback during this course.

    Thanks for another interesting post.x.

  5. Hi. I’ve been studying with York University’s online Creative Writing courses. They have been excellent, very good tutor, reasonably priced and accredited and very good feedback from both tutor and students. My writing has improved greatly. The five courses give 60 credits towards a degree and I am on my last one at the moment.

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  7. For those of you in the Boston area, I highly recommend a writing workshop at the Harvard Extension Program taught by Maxine Rodburg. I took 3 courses with her, and she’s terrific. An added benefit of going to a writing class is that you will quickly get a sense of the people who are the best writers. You can then ask them if they would like to set up a writers’ group with you. If they’re already in a writers’ group, you can ask them if you can join theirs. I found my first writers’ group this way!

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  11. Thank you for sharing these ideas for courses. I am really interested in studying creative writing online, in between working full time as a Primary School teacher, and these links have given me the inspiration I need!

  12. Hi,
    I wonder if you are able to shed any light on the AQA A Level Creative Writing Course – I would like to take this course, I live in Cambridgeshire and have searched all over the place in the East of England (and contacted AQA who don’t know!) – and no one seems to be able to help. I’m sure it must be running somewhere but it’s a mystery.
    Thanks, Alison

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